Progressive Web Applications or PWAs as a popular abbreviation, are described as the best of both worlds. What it entails is that the application lives on the website but its functionalities resemble more of a native application. Users are provided a mobile-like experience while navigating through the website. The reasons why everyone calls them as progressive are because of its fast, responsive and connectivity independent feature.
It is possible that one can get entangled in many myths that circulate regarding PWAs. Some of the most common myths are:
• You need to start with a single-page app to make a PWA.
• It makes more sense for apps your users want to install.
• PWAs work only in Mobile devices.
• PWAs are mainly meant for Android devices.
While PWAs do work on mobile devices, it’s not imperative that it should only be limited to small screens. Also, they are not just limited to Google since many other tech giants such as Microsoft, Samsung, Opera, etc have announced their plans to implement PWAs. Because of the contribution of these rumors, many people might be disinclined to use it for their projects. Every site can be and should be a PWA.
The three baseline criteria a site must fulfill to be considered as a PWA are:
• They need to run under HTTPS- PWAs have a vast choice of extra privileges in the operating system, so it is important that the connection be secure.
• Web app manifest is a requirement because it is a JSON file that has much major information regarding the site. One might even have very basic.
• You require a service worker. The Service Cooker Cookbook is an excellent example of one of the many recipe guides out there to create service workers in the career’s shape one wants to pursue.
Once these are put in their place, it will transform the website into a PWA.
Benefits of PWA
Research suggests that the benefits of PWAs are indeed worth studying. Compared to native apps, these PWAs have some excellent features:
• Mobile traffic increases by more than 68%
• Loading and installing becomes 15 times faster
• Device storage is reduced by more than 25 times
• 52% average increase in conversion rate
• 78.25% average increase in sessions
• Engagement can be as high as 137%
• Loading speed on average doesn’t take longer than 2.75 seconds
• Bounce rate can be as low as 43% when compared to mobile websites
• Page views can increase by as high as 133.67%
How can PWAs Help Businesses?
These are some advantages of PWAs for businesses that are accustomed to it:
#1. Development Costs are Reduced
This can be attributed to the fact that PWAs do not require different versions for different devices. Therefore costs are vastly lowered since the efforts of developers are dropped as well. The cost can be around four times lower than what it takes to construct a native application.
#2. Provides the App-Like Feel
Usage of smartphones among the populace has exploded in the 21st century and is likely to grow. According to Forrester, 3.8 billion people are likely to have access to smartphones. Even the number of application downloads will reach 258.2 billion.
PWAs provide amazing user experience by combining the feel of the application with the best of the website performance. They have the design and setting that appear to be those of native applications. Also, they are equally responsible and fast. This is an important reason why search engines, mainly of Google, index them above the rest.
#3. Installation is Speedily Done
PWAs installation procedure is destitute of any long and complex processes. It streamlines the process so that users will not sway from it which happens with many apps that come with lengthy installation protocols.
#4. Security is Enhanced
The reliance on HTTPS to minimize the leak of secured information and allow data safety which severely hinders any version of snooping and modifying content without permission is one of the plus points of PWAs. Also, there is the Web Blue technology that entails many additional security features.
#5. Reliance on App Distribution Services Reduced
App Store, Microsoft Store, Google Play, etc are some of the application distribution services having a high requirement to software which is part of their database. They might even block or remove an application Also, meeting those criteria can become an exercise that is exhaustive in both time and effort. PWAs has an edge over these needs because PWAs do not to be stored in such services.
#6. Push Notification Functionality
The push notification of PWAs can be beneficial to attract clients and users. Many use PWAs to send notifications which helps them promote their product or services. These notifications are displayed on screens of mobile devices which has a high probability of getting user’s attention than just newsletters and social media posts. This strongly increases the chances of the user actually responding to the notification. They can also be an excellent aid in brand recognition as they allow businesses to draw attention to their brand and company name.
#7. Smooth Operations when Offline
One of the main features of a PWA is its ability to work even without a decent internet connection. Built-in service workers cache important progressive web apps’ features and information removes the requirement to download it and lets it’s own audience access it without any internet connection.
#8. Update Without any Major Hurdles
Updating in PWAs are automatic and saves time. This removes the constant reminders of updating websites. Some PWAs, however, are made in a way that those apps to send out notifications of a new update.
Drawbacks of PWAs
With the above benefits of PWAs, there are a few shortcomings of these applications well
• Few browsers like Safari do not support PWAs.
• Though most PWAs have access to the native functionality of mobile devices, they still are unable to use all of them. In such situations, a native app is the only solution.
• There is no promotion on the app store which is a good thing as it will eliminate the intricate coordination with the app stores but also lose a major platform for publicity and promotions.
Because of so many advantages dwarfing the shortcomings, PWAs are the perfect choice for many of your projects. Many people still might believe that these might be too technical or aren’t needed in your project, but these myths are far from the truth. I hope that you found this article insightful and has made you interested in the subject.
If you wish to learn more about PWAs, try the ‘Progressive Web Apps- The Complete Guide’ online tutorial. With 15 hours of tutorial, the tutorial covers 14 sections that include advanced topics such as background sync, web-push notifications, creating a responsive UI and much more!